Archive for 2009

WILL FURTHER COST CUTS LEADER TO Q2 OUTPERFORMANCE?

WILL FURTHER COST CUTS LEADER TO Q2 OUTPERFORMANCE?

cost cuttingCourtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

At the end of the day it’s still earnings that matter most.  As the expectation ratio has shown, the stock market has remained resilient primarily due to the fact that expectations for earnings have become very low and more corporations are outperforming the low hurdles.   But a look under the hood has shed some light on the true strength of these earnings.   We’ve seen a common trend of late.  Companies are missing top line estimates and handily beating bottom line estimates.  The two most recent examples of this phenomenon were RIMM and FedEx.  72% of the S&P 500 reported revenues that were lower than the same quarter last year.  As corporations shed workers and other costs they’re actually able to outpace their revenue declines with cost cuts.  While we’re still seeing very weak revenues figures (which is representative of the weak economic landscape) we’re actually seeing some margin stabilization and subsequently better than expected bottom line growth.  This chart from JP Morgan shows the trend at hand:

mrgins

GDP is expected to climb substantially this quarter.  We’re also seeing some stabilization in overall economic productivity.  Meanwhile, on the cost side we’re continuing to see very low levels of hiring, low labor costs, low business spending and inventories.  Revenues are down just 17% for the overall S&P 500 on a year over year basis, but as you can see in the following two charts spending and inventories have nosedived:

costs

As JP Morgan notes, there is no evidence that this is sustainable or positive for the markets in the long-term though:

Corporate defense of profits and financial standing, that is continuing in the current quarter, is apparently being rewarded in the credit markets. Corporate spreads over Treasuries and corporate bond yields have continued to decline in the past several weeks even as other longer-term market interest rates were rising.
The implications of corporate financial performance for economic growth over the coming year is uncertain. Business will emerge from recession in better financial health than compared to exits from past recessions, and with internal funds running well above capital spending. These conditions might argue for a relatively robust corporate expansion.

But for this to happen, the extreme caution that produced these financial results has to change. And there is no


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ROBERT PRECHTER EXPECTS CORRECTION

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ROBERT PRECHTER EXPECTS CORRECTION

Courtesy of The Pragmatic Capitalist

Like Steven Leuthold, Prechter is expecting a short-term correction followed by a resumption of the rally:

 

 


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Flow of Funds Report Offers Hard Evidence of Deflation

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Flow of Funds Report Offers Hard Evidence of Deflation

Courtesy of Mish

I am not sure if this was his intent, but recent analysis of the Flow of Funds Report by Martin Weiss eloquently makes the case for deflation.

In New, Hard Evidence of Continuing Debt Collapse! Martin Weiss Writes …

While most pundits are still grasping at anecdotal “green shoots” to celebrate the beginning of a “recovery,” the hard data just released by the Federal Reserve reveals a continuing collapse of unprecedented dimensions.

It’s all in the Fed’s Flow of Funds Report for the first quarter of 2009, which I’ve posted on our website with the key numbers in a red box for all those who would like to see the evidence.

First and foremost, the Fed’s numbers demonstrate, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that the credit market meltdown, which struck with full force after the Lehman Brothers failure last September, actually got a lot worse in the first quarter of this year.

click on chart for sharper image

Open Market Paper: Instead of growing as it had in almost every prior quarter in history, it collapsed at the annual rate of $662.5 billion. (See line 2.)

Banks lending: Credit markets [collapsed] at the astonishing pace of $856.4 billion per year, their biggest cutback of all time (line 7).

Nonbank lending: (line 8 ) pulled out at the annual rate of $468 billion, also the worst on record.

Mortgage lenders: (line 9) pulled out for a third straight month. (Their worst on record was in the prior quarter.)

Consumers: (line 10) were shoved out of the market for credit at the annual pace of $90.7 billion, the worst on record.

The ONLY major player still borrowing money in big amounts was the United States Treasury Department (line 3), sopping up $1,442.8 billion of the credit available — and leaving LESS than nothing for the private sector as a whole.

Bottom line: The first quarter brought the greatest credit collapse of all time.

Excluding public sector borrowing (by the Treasury, government agencies, states, and municipalities), private sector credit was reduced at a mindboggling pace of $1,851.2 billion per year!

And even if you include all the government borrowing, the overall


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Trucks Sit Idle; Rail Traffic Horrific

Courtesy of Mish

Trucks Sit Idle; Rail Traffic Horrific

The weekly Railfax Rail Carloading Report still looks grim. Here are a couple of charts.

Total US Rail Traffic

click on chart for sharper image

Total Industry Charts (US, Canada and Mexico)
Year over Year Percent Change – 13 Week Rolling Averages

click on chart for sharper image

13-week moving averages are still moving lower, with no apparent end in sight. The first chart shows the one relatively bright spot is coal. I hear the same message about coal from trucker friends.

Idle Trucks

"TF" writes:

Mish,

I travel a number of routes regularly with my job and one site I pass amazes me. It is a local trucking company property. In early summer 2008 there were maybe 100 total trucks and trailers. Today, there is not much room left in a 12 acre area with 100s for trucks and trailers can not guess the number of trailers stacked 3 to 4 high.
I had heard through a trailer dealer that this trucking company solely purchased equipment to move wind energy projects for a number of years and this year canceled all equipment orders.

I also pass by a switchyard for a BNSF line between Seattle and Chicago once a month. The switchyard is a transfer point for the main line to a local. Freight would wait until there was an opening on the local line or an available engine. Prior to July/August 2008 the yard would have various car carriers, containers and other freight along side the coal cars destined for the power plants. Today only the coal cars are parked there. There is no waiting, except for coal.

TF

Competition Intense

FleetOwner is reporting Truck Freight Down Until 2010.

Truckers larger and small will need to keep their belts tightened into the early part of next year before they can expect to see freight volumes start increasing, according to the latest industry analysis compiled by FTR Associates.

In a conference call with reporters last week, FTR analysts noted that for freight to start recovering, it must "reach a bottom first" and they predicted the bottom will be reached in the third to fourth quarter of this year. That will lead to a recovery in freight volume to begin sometime in the first quarter of 2010.

"I


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Toyota Set To Become Top Dog In The U.S.

Courtesy of Tom Lindmark, But Then What?

Toyota Set To Become Top Dog In The U.S.

Depending upon your philosophical bent, this is either good news or another sign that the Apocalypse is Top Dog, Toyotanear.

The WSJ is reporting that Toyota is slated to take over the title as the number 1 seller of light vehicles in the U.S.

The bankruptcies of General Motors and Chrysler are changing the landscape of the auto industry. The two U.S. companies are shuttering plants, shedding dealers and reducing their product lines.

As a result, Toyota Motor will become the largest seller of light vehicles in the U.S. It has held the top spot globally since last year.

The Japanese auto maker won’t be the only beneficiary of the two companies’ woes. But in terms of status, market clout and bragging rights, Toyota will be the No. 1 winner.

Its share of the North American light-truck and car market probably will rise to around 20% from 18.4%. GM will end up in second place with 13% to 16% — with Ford hot on its tail.

Although Toyota stock doesn’t change hands directly in the U.S., the company’s American depositary shares (TM), which represent them, are listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

And, at a recent price of around $76 — about $30 below their 52-week high — they’re a good bet for long-term investors.

The Journal suggests that the stock might be a good long-term buy. They point out that analysts suggest it could hit $115 and that it hit $137 a couple of years ago. Maybe, but just a caveat. Toyota and others now have the most fearsome of competitors  – government owned companies. In the long run that probably means success for the competitors as political decisions trump business common sense. In the short run it could be formidable as the government does whatever is necessary to prove it didn’t make the stupid decision that everyone acknowledges it did.

Buy the stock at your peril.


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The obtuseness of macroeconomics

Courtesy of Benign Brodwicz’s The Animal Spirits Page 

The obtuseness of macroeconomics

By Benign Brodwicz

Consider The Economist’s Romer roundtable:  Debt will keep growing.

Not one macroeconomist acknowledges what I believe to be the true cause of the current collapse of effective demand, the extreme skewness of the income distribution and the attendant indebtedness and inability to spend at previous levels of the bottom half or better of the household income distribution.  My reference rant on this subject is here.  [Read the rant too, it's a good one. - Ilene]

The macroeconomists keep talking about “monetary stimulus” and “fiscal stimulus” as if they’re talking about stepping on the accelerator of a gasoline internal combustion engine.  Except that the engine is running on one cylinder, and if they “prime” the engine, all the gasoline is only going to fire on one cylinder, the one that’s getting the gas—in terms of this metaphor, the rich folks at the top of the currently neo-feudal pecking order.

The fiscal and monetary stimuli of the Great Depression failed to make the income distribution more equal, and failed to reduce unemployment to reasonable levels.  Most households weren’t participating in the flow of income to a sufficient degree for that to happen.

It’s time for the policymakers to realize that the economy is in the middle of a vast transition from a debt-financed consumption-heavy economy to one that is higher saving and more investment oriented.  That’s a big change, one that will take years.  Businesses aren’t going to want to invest in capital formation for consumer markets when they won’t know what the prospective returns are until we burn off some of our excess capacity and consumption patterns stabilize, in sum and in composition, in some new configuration. 

It took World War II to equalize the American income distribution last time, a frightening thought.  I have no idea what it will take this time.

The best macroeconomic policy right now, and the only one we can afford, is to provide honorable workfare to the growing ranks of the unemployed—in part so that they do not become radicalized and alienated from America—and health benefits so that we don’t compound the losses of the current slump with avoidable sickness.

John Maynard KeynesMacroeconomics in toto—the academic work plus the way it has entered policy—is


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Behind the Sense of Urgency

Michael Panzner introduces a post from Prudent Investor on price inflation in food prices, featuring a chart from the Economist comparing different countries. 

Behind the Sense of Urgency

By Michael Panzner at When Giant’s Fall

In yesterday’s post, "A Hunger for Food Security," I highlighted an article detailing the global scramble to acquire farmland and bolster food security.

Another post published today at the Prudent Investor Newsletters blog, "Chart: Global Food Price Inflation," points to a report in The Economist that might help explain the sense of urgency driving at least some of those efforts.

Inflation’s impact is always relative. And it can be seen in food prices across different nations.

Economist's chart on food inflation

According to the Economist,

"Changes in global food prices are affecting some countries much more than others. Despite a big fall from peaks in 2008, food-price inflation remains high in places such as Kenya and Russia. In China, however, falling international commodity prices have been passed on to consumers faster. The price of food, as measured by its component in China’s consumer-price index, rose by more than 20% in 2007 but fell by 1.9% in 2008 and by a further 1.3% in the past three months alone."

Of course, there are also many factors that gives rise to these disparities, aside from monetary and fiscal policies (taxes, tariffs, subsidies, etc…), there are considerations of the conditions of infrastructure, capital structure, logistics/distribution, markets, arable lands, water, soil fertility, technology, productivity, economic structure and etc.

Our concern is given the present "benign state of inflation", some developing countries have already been experiencing high food prices, what more if inflation gets a deeper traction globally? Could this be an ominous sign of food crisis perhaps?


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7 Steps To 40% Annual Returns

Just a couple of decades ago it would have been almost unfathomable for the retail investor to consider generating consistent returns above 20% per year.  Indeed, those who competed in arguably the most competitive financial market place, the stock market, were considered gurus when they beat the S&P 500 year in and year out

Others, such as Jerome Kohlberg, Henry Kravis and George Roberts made a name for themselves in private equity as did Peter Peterson and Stephen Schwarzman with the Blackstone Group.  Gains in the stock market for Joe Public were subjected to a limiting factor – the inability to leverage substantially.  Joe Public was also limited in participating in private equity investments; they were the domain of the rich – the insiders.  These days, private equity still remains the domain of the rich, but leveraging is possible through the purchase of equity derivatives.  And the sale of those same equity derivatives can be highly profitable too.

Whereas it would have been unthinkable years ago to consider making big profits year in and year out on a stock that doesn't move much – because the only source of income, dividends, tended to be in the low single digits in percentage terms - these days options afford us the opportunity to sit tight and profit while holding stock positions.  This can easily be achieved through the sale of short call options against stock holdings, otherwise known as the Covered Call strategy.  While the Covered Call strategy may appear straightforward when first encountered, many applications may be employed.  In this article, we will consider the application that Stock and Option Trades labels: 7 Steps to 40% per year!

Step 1:  Wait for a selloff

Ok, so you want to skip this step and move on to Step 2.  Wait! 

One of the great quotes in investing comes from Jesse Livermore and pertains to this concept of patience.  In Reminiscences of a Stock Operator, it is stated: 

"It never was my thinking that made the big money for me. It always was my sitting.  Got that?  My sitting tight!  It is no trick at all to be right on the market.  You always find lots of early bulls in bull markets and early bears in
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Telling a Similar Story

Here’s a couple more articles one on the lack of evidence for a turn around and one on China, wrapped into a single post by Michael Panzner at Financial Armageddon.

Telling a Similar Story

Handy Manny Visits Kids At USO General MacArthur Center For Storytime

Below are two seemingly unrelated articles that tell a similar story: talk that the global economy is on the upswing seems to be premature, to say the least.

In the first report (hat tip to Calculated Risk), the Vice Chairman of General Electric, a company with 14 major lines of business — appliances, aviation, consumer electronics, electrical distribution, energy, business finance, consumer finance, healthcare, lighting, commercial and industrial markets, media & entertainment, oil & gas, rail, and security — and a presence in more than 100 countries, states point-blank that they are not seeing evidence of the turnaround that policymakers (e.g., Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke), clueless Wall Street types (see: "The Wall Street Clown Show"), and TV pundits keep referring to.

The second article by well regarded analyst Andy Xie (hat tip to Naked Capitalism) is even more interesting, because it doesn’t just undermine the notion that China is on the mend — bolstering arguments I made previously in "Holes in the China Recovery Story" — and poised to kick-start a global economic recovery. It also raises questions about the recent sharp run-up in commodity prices, which many analysts say is a reflection of improving economic conditions but which seems to stem from a combination of technical buying and debt-financed speculation.

1. "GE Vice Chair Rice Sees No ‘Green Shoots’ in Orders" (Bloomberg):

General Electric Co. Vice Chairman John Rice said he isn’t seeing an increase in orders even as U.S. economic statistics suggest the world’s largest economy may soon shift to a recovery.

“I am not particularly of the green shoots group yet,” Rice said today to the Atlanta Press Club, referring to a phrase used by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke that described signs of a nascent recovery. “I have not seen it in our order patterns yet. At the macro level, there may be statistics suggesting the economy is starting to turn. I am not seeing it yet.”

GE is the world’s biggest maker of jet engines, power-plant turbines, locomotives, medical imaging equipment. Rice oversees the Fairfield, Connecticut-based company’s industrial businesses.

“We see a world


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China: Economic Catastrophe Unfolding

China: Economic Catastrophe Unfolding

china real estateBy Terence Doherty, guest author

Here’s some recent news about the real estate markets in China. I think it is fascinating watching how these things unfold. This proves once again that the lesson of history is that we don’t learn the lessons of history.

I predicted over 2 years ago that the Chinese stock markets would implode dramatically, much to everybody’s disbelief and skepticism. It began a few months sooner than I thought, but, that is exactly what has happened. Now for the last year or so, I have predicted that things will get VERY bad in the Chinese real estate markets over the next several years. Again, most people I have talked to about this (especially Chinese) have almost universally dismissed this notion as absurd.

But this is not just a guess.  When you read these articles, you will see just some of the evidence that leads me to this conclusion. There are a lot of data on this, and most of it comes from statistics issued by various Chinese government agencies. But it is not advertised by the mainland press or TV.   So, many Chinese are not at all aware, and think that everything will soon be wonderful, because that is pretty much what they constantly hear from the official media.

That is one thing I noticed immediately about China: there is a constant barrage everywhere you turn—-TV, advertisements, magazines, newspapers, billboards, etc.—-that essentially suggests that everything is wonderful and getting more wonderful all the time, and everybody is just happy, happy, happy, and China is getting better and better and stronger and stronger.  I was really struck by this. It was like living in a never-ending infomercial. Maybe some go to China and are not very aware of this, but to me it was like a constant din.

Actually, at least some of this data is readily available on the mainland. But it requires digging.  The official news agencies like Xinhua and the People’s Daily just keep repeating the same mindless mantra in endlessly varying ways every day: “Everything is good, there are only a few small little problems, but the Motherland is unstoppable and will just get mightier and mightier.” If the Falun Gong would just chant that mantra, they would get to keep their organs and they would have no more problems in China. 

 

 

The news here…
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Zero Hedge

Swedish Housing Bubble Pops As Stockholm Apartment Prices Crash Most Since June 2009

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Even though Sweden’s property bubble is not the longest running (that accolade goes to Australia at 55 years), it is probably the world’s biggest with prices up roughly 6-fold since starting its meteoric rise in 1995.

Of course, as we noted last month when the SEB's housing price indicator, which measures the difference between those who believe prices will rise and those who expect t...



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Phil's Favorites

Fascism's return and Trump's war on youth

 

Fascism’s return and Trump’s war on youth

Courtesy of Henry GirouxMcMaster University

Donald Trump’s policies represent a particular attack on American youth and children, particularly those who are disadvantaged. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Fascism is all too often relegated to the history books.

The word conjures up a period in which civilized societies treated democracy with contempt, engaged in acts of systemic violence, practised extermination and elimination, supported an “apocalyptic populism,” suppressed dissent, promoted a hyper-nationalism, displayed contempt for women, embraced militarism as an absolute ideal and in...



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Biotech

Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

Reminder: Pharmboy and Ilene are available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

Designer proteins that package genetic material could help deliver gene therapy

Courtesy of Ian HaydonUniversity of Washington

Delivering genetic material is a key challenge in gene therapy. Invitation image created by Kstudio, CC BY

If you’ve ever bought a new iPhone, you’ve experienced good packaging.

The way the lid slowly separates from the box. The pull...



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Chart School

Rallies Slow As Semiconductor Selling Eases

Courtesy of Declan

Markets experienced early gains but gave them back by the close of business. Given the mini-rally of the past five days, some of the indices are looking vulnerable to a new round of selling.

The S&P finished with a narrow inverted hammer on low volume but at new highs. A move back to the newly accelerated channel is looking favored.
 


The Nasdaq also finished with a narrow doji but wasn't able to make new highs.  It's already close to one channel but looks more likely to reach down to th...



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Insider Scoop

Earnings Scheduled For December 13, 2017

Courtesy of Benzinga.

Companies Reporting Before The Bell
  • Lightinthebox Holding Co Ltd-ADR (NYSE: LITB) is estimated to report quarterly earnings at $0.01 per share on revenue of $78.49 million.
Companies Reporting After The Bell
  • ABM Industries, Inc. (NYSE: ABM) is expected to post quarterly earnings at $0.49 per share on revenue of $1.49 billion.
  • ...


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Digital Currencies

Not A Bubble?

Courtesy of ZeroHedge. View original post here.

Meet The Crypto Company - up almost 20,000% since inception in September...

To a market cap of over $12.6 billion...

Grant's Interest Rate Observer drew the world's attention to this 'company' yesterday.....



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ValueWalk

Tax Bill May Spark Exodus From High-Tax States

Courtesy of FinancialSense.com via ValueWalk.com

The following is a summary of our recent podcast, “Exodus – The Major Wealth Migration,” which can be listened to on our site here on on iTunes here.

It’s looking increasingl...



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Members' Corner

An Interview with David Brin

Our guest David Brin is an astrophysicist, technology consultant, and best-selling author who speaks, writes, and advises on a range of topics including national defense, creativity, and space exploration. He is also a well-known and influential futurist (one of four “World's Best Futurists,” according to The Urban Developer), and it is his ideas on the future, specifically the future of civilization, that I hope to learn about here.   

Ilene: David, you base many of your predictions of the future on a theory of historica...



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Mapping The Market

Puts things in perspective

Courtesy of Jean-Luc

Puts things in perspective:

The circles don't look to be to scale much!

...

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OpTrader

Swing trading portfolio - week of September 11th, 2017

Reminder: OpTrader is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

 

This post is for all our live virtual trade ideas and daily comments. Please click on "comments" below to follow our live discussion. All of our current  trades are listed in the spreadsheet below, with entry price (1/2 in and All in), and exit prices (1/3 out, 2/3 out, and All out).

We also indicate our stop, which is most of the time the "5 day moving average". All trades, unless indicated, are front-month ATM options. 

Please feel free to participate in the discussion and ask any questions you might have about this virtual portfolio, by clicking on the "comments" link right below.

To learn more about the swing trading virtual portfolio (strategy, performance, FAQ, etc.), please click here ...



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Promotions

NewsWare: Watch Today's Webinar!

 

We have a great guest at today's webinar!

Bill Olsen from NewsWare will be giving us a fun and lively demonstration of the advantages that real-time news provides. NewsWare is a market intelligence tool for news. In today's data driven markets, it is truly beneficial to have a tool that delivers access to the professional sources where you can obtain the facts in real time.

Join our webinar, free, it's open to all. 

Just click here at 1 pm est and join in!

[For more information on NewsWare, click here. For a list of prices: NewsWar...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Brazil; Waterfall in prices starting? Impact U.S.?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble.

Below looks at the Brazil ETF (EWZ) over the last decade. The rally over the past year has it facing a critical level, from a Power of the Pattern perspective.

CLICK ON CHART TO ENLARGE

EWZ is facing dual resistance at (1), while in a 9-year down trend of lower highs and lower lows. The counter trend rally over the past 17-months has it testing key falling resistance. Did the counter trend reflation rally just end at dual resistance???

If EWZ b...



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All About Trends

Mid-Day Update

Reminder: Harlan is available to chat with Members, comments are found below each post.

Click here for the full report.




To learn more, sign up for David's free newsletter and receive the free report from All About Trends - "How To Outperform 90% Of Wall Street With Just $500 A Week." Tell David PSW sent you. - Ilene...

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. She manages the site market shadows, archives, more. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.

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